The University of Minnesota picked up its second Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday at McNamara Alumni Center when Golden Gophers junior forward Amanda Kessel was presented the trophy given to the best collegiate women’s ice hockey player in the country.
The Madison, Wis. native leads the nation in almost every major offensive category and has helped lead Minnesota to the 2013 National Championship game. Kessel and the Gophers will play the Boston University Terriers Sunday at 3 p.m. CT for the national title at Ridder Arena.
In 2005, former Gopher forward Krissy Wendell won the award. She still stands as the only Minnesotan to win the Patty Kazmaier Award.
The event Saturday at the Minnesota alumni center did have its quirks. In the middle of the opening presentation a fire alarm went off during a pre-taped video presentation. After about five minutes of sitting around waiting for the alarm to go off, the crowd was instructed to evacuate the building as firefighters were on the scene.
The delay did not put a damper on the event as Kessel shined in front of the large matinee group of teammates, coaches, representatives from USA Hockey, fans, and the other three school’s in the Frozen Four.
The other two finalists for the award were also members of the Gophers.
Senior defender Megan Bozek and senior goaltender Noora Raty rounded out the all-Gopher award finalists. It was the first time that three members of the same school were selected as finalists for the Patty Kaz trophy.
It was the third overall selection for Raty as an award finalist but tt was the second time for Kessel who leads the nation in goals with 44, assists with 53, and points per game with 2.69.
“I’m proud to be recognized as someone who tries to live on and off the ice according to the same values that Patty and her family represent. I’m grateful for all the Kaz and Sandt family has done for women’s hockey. Its an honor to be in the same category,” said Kessel.